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‘Lunch-Shaming’ School District Reverses Plan to Deny Hot Food to Low-Income Students

Plus, Goop-ing it up in Japan, and more news to start your day

peanut butter and jelly sandwich
A cold sandwich.
Andi Berger/Shutterstock

“Lunch-shaming” school district walks back its policy to feed low-income students cold sandwiches

The Rhode Island school district that drew national outrage for its “lunch-shaming” policies has canceled its plan to deny hot food to students who owe money to the school.

Warwick Public Schools had announced last week that students with past-due lunch debts would not be permitted to purchase hot food items such as pizza and fries, but would be offered a “balanced lunch” of a sun butter and jelly sandwich, vegetables, fruit, and milk. Critics — including parents, celebrities like Alec Baldwin, and Chobani founder Hamdi Ulukaya, who donated nearly $50,000 to pay off Warwick’s outstanding lunch debt — noted that such a practice would not only deprive students of hot lunch choices, but would also reveal their financial status to their peers.

In an attempt to save face, the district noted last Wednesday that 72 percent of its total lunch debt of $77,000 has been accrued by paying students, not children on the federally assisted free and reduced lunch program, but as Vox points out, this comment “ignores the financial struggles of students whose families make slightly too much money to qualify for free or reduced lunch.” It’s a widespread problem with no easy solution; while charitable rich people and the odd GoFundMe here or there may help in one-off instances, they’re far from a permanent fix for the structural problems that persist across schools nationwide.

And in other news…

  • Peggy Lipton, who played the owner of the Double R diner on Twin Peaks, has died. [The A.V. Club]
  • PepsiCo withdrew its intellectual property lawsuits against farmers in India who were, the company claimed, infringing on a patent by planting potatoes designed just for Lay’s chips. [Quartz]
  • A heap of unsold food from an Amazon Go store was found discarded in a Seattle landfill, highlighting the huge amount of plastic-wrapped food waste generated by stores that are designed for convenience. [BuzzFeed News]
  • Just days after “aperol spritz-gate,” the New York Times is attracting more trolling for its recipe for broccoli and sweet potato tacos. Gray Lady, u ok? [Twitter]
  • How seltzer tricks your brain into releasing that sweet, sweet dopamine rush. [MEL Magazine]
  • There’s a popular noodle shop in Japan that’s only open for one hour a day. [Heated]
  • Also in Japan: Goop’s first-ever … pop-up store and cafe? Patrons can munch on salads, soups, and open-faced sandwiches after spending too much on quartz face massage rollers and other “wellness” products. [Sora News 24]
  • Bangkok has a corgi cafe that can only be described in terms of !!!!! [BuzzFeed News]

All AM Intel coverage [E]